"We never realized that a degree in medicine would be a prerequisite for being a Caregiver."
Dysfunction Junction, what's your function?
One of the most complex Caregiver responsibilities is navigating the medial system - from medication management to understanding Medicare to understanding your parent's health condition.
Did you know that Doctor expect to give complete care information to the person who accompanies a patient on an appointment- regardless of their knowledge or ability to understand or carry out the doctor's care instructions? What?
We assumed that the Caregiver's job would be simple - take Mom to the doctor, get the prescription filled and then give it to them.
But there is more to than just going to the appointment, and then hand Mom a few pills and a glass of water:
Its remembering to give it to them - on time
Its giving them their medication when you are not around
It not forgetting to refill their prescriptions
It is interpreting reactions
It is understanding food interactions
It is working the Medicare system
Comprehending and executing Doctor's Care Orders
Here is the problem. The doctor's role is to identify the condition and prescribe medication to address it. The pharmacy's role is to dispense the medication. The insurance company's role is funding. Not only are the "Systems" not interfacing with each other, the medical system has taken the liberty of making assumptions about the Caregiver role.
They are putting all of this responsibility of coordinating the "care" of the patient on to the Caregiver. They are expecting the Caregiver to become their loved one's Patient Advocate. The doctors and healthcare system are assigning this role to us without us knowing it and without us having any prior training or education to even do it. This major disconnect between the Healthcare system and those of us who are caring for our parents is what is causing a derailment for the Patient.
Now that the truth is out about the medical system, it does not change the fact that today Caregivers must still deal with all of this, however, you do not have to go through this alone.
There are support resources and services available who you could add to your Home Care Team to improve the navigation this dysfunctional system.
Part of your Care Team
Having the right resources on your Home Care Team will be a game changer. It is important to have a strong offense to help you move down the field in order to reach the "goal" post. Let's meet some those front line resources and learn how they may become an important member of Your Home Care Team!
Even before your parent is discharged from the hospital or rehab, a Patient Advocate would be a good first draft pick. They would step in to communicate with the doctors and specialists and even develop a list of questions for you to ask the doctors. They will even perform research options for treatment and care.
The next pick would be a Pharmacy Advocate. One of the many challenges a Caregiver faces is acting as the intermediary between your parent's doctor(s) and the pharmacy.
All of a sudden you are trying to understand their medication, reactions and interactions with food. A Pharmacy Advocate offers pharmacy consulting, monitoring, and educational services to patients who need help understanding and managing their prescription medications.
Once the medication plan becomes stable, the best draft pick will be Retail Pharmacy Offering Home Delivery- such as Simple Meds! They have pharmacists who organize all of your medications into pre-packaged doses, fill a 30-day supply and review your medication profile every month to ensure each prescription is accurate and up-to-date.
These resources provide valuable services in addition to:
A commitment to customer service
Realness – People who are genuine about the service they provide
Practicality - Could this service/product have been something my sister would have used while caring for our Dad? Yes!
Affordability – Most of the time it is us - the Caregivers who are paying for services because they help us to better manage the care of our loved one.
It is for these reasons that these resources have been showcased here - as valuable members of your Home Care Team. Do these services somewhat overlap? Yes, but what is important will be having a variety of different options to choose from which will best fit your unique situation and challenges today.
Meet Simple Meds, See How Simple Medication Management can be
"At Simple Meds℠ , we do the heavy lifting for you! No more trips to the pharmacy, chasing after refills or sitting up pill boxes."
Simple Meds is licensed in every state to provide medications; pre-sorted into packets according to the day and time they should be taken AND delivered to the home. Get started today and see how hassle-free the Simple Meds way can be! Call us toll free at 1.615.645.MEDS (6337)
These days...EVERYONE is looking for a convenient way to manage their prescription medications. At Simple Meds℠ , we do the heavy lifting for you! No more trips to the pharmacy, chasing after refills or sitting up pill boxes.
What Makes Us Unique
Simple Meds has easy-to-open packaging.
Our packaging has large easy to read lettering and symbols to let you know the proper time to take your medication.
Medication boxes delivered directly to the home every thirty days.
Scan the QR Code on your medication list and watch educational videos about your medication.
Meet Dr. Jerrica Dodd, CEO Your Pharmacy Advocate
"Finally, ...a place where your prescription health is of utmost concern."
Dr. Jerrica Dodd, Your Pharmacy Advocate.
Does this sound familiar?
You or someone you love is dealing with a chronic illness and they take several medications regularly.
You or someone you love has suffered from side effects from various medications.
You or someone you care about has had health issues because of prescription medications.
You or someone you care about has had drug interactions that you couldn’t explain.
Finally, you’ve found a place where your prescription health is of utmost concern.
At Your Pharmacy Advocate, we help you achieve peace of mind with your medication management by partnering with you and your healthcare team. You deserve to have peace of mind when it comes to the prescription drugs you take.
We will act as your prescription consultants and walk you through any questions you might have about the prescription drug treatments for your illness. If you’re ready to have us as your personal pharmacy advocate, take the next step.
Meet Myra Katz, Patient Advocate
"Have you ever left the doctor's office more confused than when you went in?"
Myra Katz, Katz Patient Advocate Inc.
As a Patient Advocate and medical professional, Myra navigates the challenging health care system for you. She assists in creating goals for your in person or telemedicine doctor visits. Most importantly, while she advocates on your behalf, she will also teach you how to be your best advocate!
As a Board Certified Patient Advocate with more than thirty-five years of experience as a Physician Assistant specializing in oncology, chronic care, and hospital based medicine, Myra Katz knows the medical community.
An Advocate's Advice - Do your Homework!
-Myra Katz, Katz Patient Advocate Inc.
Are you finding the costs of prescription drugs, even with insurance, to be out of your price range? Are you sometimes splitting the pills to make them last longer? Do you find the costs ridiculously high even though you have health insurance or Medicare Part D?
Take a deep breath, there are ways around the high cost of many medications.
Read the complete article here.
Taking a Swing at Medicare
It is important to spend some time becoming better educated about your parent's Medicare/Medicaid Benefits.
For example, before purchasing any big ticket items, such as: a stair climber, wheel chairs, power chairs, bedding - check with Medicare/Medicaid to see if that it would be a covered benefit.
Here are some helpful websites:
Benefits.gov- the official benefits website with information on 1,000+ assistant programs
NCSL offers prescription drug help for seniors.
Benefits CheckUp - find out if your loved one is eligible for extra help to pay for Medicare prescription drug costs.
By becoming better educated, you will be more informed about seeking out these entitlement which renew annually or periodically - wheelchairs, stair climbers, power chair purchases renew every five years.
Therefore, when your loved one is being discharged from Rehab, it makes more sense to pay out of pocket for a cane and then use any available benefits to cover those big ticket items; such as: beds, stair climbers etc.
Work with your loved one's discharge team, primary health care provider or seek the help of a Patient Advocate about understanding entitlements before self-funding any purchases.
How to properly dispose of Medication
Don't play pharmacy with medications your parent is no longer consuming - DISPOSE OF THEM. You'll notice that over time, your parents medication may change. Their doctor will modify their regiment and then you are left drugs that are no longer being consumed.
Here is how to get rid of them safely and responsibly:
take them back to the local pharmacy
drop them off at the local police station's drug drop off box
visit this link to find a location near you
The wrong way is just flushing it down the toilet. This is a big No-No! The best way to go about it is to find a medication disposal site near you. If you would like to know whether a certain medication is one that could be flushed in the toilet, the FDA offers information on disposing of medication.
By the way, this would be the way to handle disposing of medication when your loved one passes away.